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Enjoying Sky Bar on a Budget

It’s the eternal dilemma: you want to go to a swanky bar with great views and have a few drinks, but the travel budget just won’t cut it. What do you do? You nurse the cheapest drink on the menu and admire the views with the best of them, that’s what!

view of petronas towers from sky bar

Welcome to the Sky Bar, on the 33rd floor of the Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

When Scott and I travel, particularly to big international cities, we like nothing better than to hunt out cool bars, particularly if they are rooftop bars or have a great view. Unfortunately, despite all of our research it seemed we couldn’t have both in Kuala Lumpur; we either had to take a rooftop bar with no view or an indoor bar with a fabulous one. We opted for the latter.

We spoke to the guy who worked on the front desk at our hostel and he agreed that of all the famous Kuala Lumpur bars, Sky Bar was definitely one of the best, partly because of the atmosphere and partly because of the view. He also suggested that because it is so expensive that we should have a few drinks at the hostel before we went (like we needed any persuasion!) and that we should put on our best clothes as there is a dress code (not a strict one, we discovered, as some girls had denim shorts on and some men wore t-shirts and shorts, although they had clearly been there since the daytime). So it was time to dig out one of the only outfits I possess in my backpack that I keep for “best” i.e. it hadn’t been sweated in and could actually pass as a smart evening outfit despite lack of an iron.

Where I’ve Been

View Where I’ve Been in a larger map


New Zealand – Auckland, Coromandel, Waiheke, Napier, Taihape, Rotorua, Raglan, Nelson, Greymouth, Queenstown, Fox Glacier, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Otago Peninsula, Christchurch

USA – Las Vegas, St Louis, Kansas City, New Orleans, Nashville, NYC, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Phoenix, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff

Canada – Calgary, Banff, Vancouver


Australia – Sydney

Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Langkawi, Melaka, Perhentian Islands

Thailand – Koh Yao Yai, Koh Yao Noi, Koh Lanta

Hong Kong

Croatia – Cavtat, Dubrovnik, Zagreb

Montenegro – Budva

Bosnia – Sarajevo

Hungary – Budapest

Germany – Icking, Munich, Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Annaberg Buccholz

Austria – Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, St Johann in Pongau

Italy – Bologna, Venice

Slovenia – Ljubljana

Serbia - Belgrade

Romania – Timisoara, Brasov, Bran, Bucharest, Sibiu

The Netherlands – Amsterdam, Haarlem

UK – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aviemore, Manchester, York, London, Tenby, Stratford, Oxford

Ireland – Dublin

Spain – Madrid, Toledo, Valencia, Barcelona

Belgium – Brussels, Brugges, Ghent

Mexico – Tulum, Isla Holbox, Valladolid, Merida, Palenque, San Cristobal, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Zihuatanejo, Barra de Potosi, Morelia, Patzcuaro, Playa Del Carmen

Turkey – Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Konya, Amasya, Pamukkale, Samsun

Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay, Hanoi

Malaysia: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I spent a total of almost seven weeks in Malaysia (yeah, it came as a surprise to me, too) and I actually miss it. A lot. It kind of crept up on me in a away I never expected and often left me surprised and intrigued by the people and places I found there. 

After the intensity of Hong Kong I wanted to relax somewhere for a few weeks and Malaysia just seemed to be the perfect fit, hence why I found myself calling Melaka, a small UNESCO city, my home for several of those seven weeks.
Now I have left I can look back on what were the highlights and the not-so-great elements about this diverse country. And I have to tell you, I struggled to find much that was bad, as you will see…

The Good

The people

Malaysia houses a diverse mix of Indian, Malay and Chinese cultures and I cannot think of one occasion where I met someone who wasn’t willing to help, give directions or generally offer a smile. The fact that so many different cultures and religions reside here seem to make it much more tolerant of travellers and their own customs.

The food

When you take two of my favourite Asian cuisines (Chinese and Indian) and throw some spicy Malay fare into the mix, I was never going to be disappointed. I also discovered some interesting and unusual dishes that quickly became my favourites, such as Mexican coffee bread, nyonya laksa and every type of steamed bun (pau) imaginable.

malaysia laksa

Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkeys

batu caves

When most people think of the Batu Caves in Malaysia, they think of the tall golden Hindu statue which guards the entrance. I think of monkeys.

I have always had a love (read fascination) of our primate counterparts. They always seem to be the most entertaining part of the zoo (mainly because a lot of the other animals, as cute as they may be, often don’t do a lot. Monkeys swing around, throw poo and generally cause a riot). I had read about monkeys hanging around (pardon the pun) at several Malaysia tourist sites, in particular the hugely famous Batu Caves – situated around half an hour outside of Kuala Lumpur city by train – and was excited to see these cheeky little creatures up close with my own eyes. Hell, I thought, maybe one might even jump on my shoulder a la Ross and Marcel from Friends and I could strike a pose for the camera. (This actually did happen to me one time with a small green monkey at a zoo in Tenerife and it was less “picture postcard” than “scared out of my wits”, so maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all).

It was a hot day, a very hot day, and like all sane people I had waited until midday, the hottest part of the day, to arrive at the caves – only to discover I had to climb 272 steps to get inside them. Also, there were no monkeys in sight. Had I paid any money to enter, I would have been asking for it back right about then. But unlike most other tourist attractions in Malaysia, this one was actually free, so I had nothing to complain about. Like the trooper that I am, I set off up the steps, sweating and panting and thinking to myself that leggings had been a bad choice.